Initial Teacher Training

The Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance offers a pathway into a career as a primary school teacher through our School Direct programmes.

There are two types of School Direct on offer: a salaried route and a Post Graduate PGCE school based route.

Further routes in to teaching can be found here

Historically, training days have been based at Ashley Down Primary School, one of the Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance schools, with placements in a range of schools across the city and beyond, including our Alliance schools. From September 2017 we moved our training venue to Whitehall Primary School which is also part of our teaching school alliance. From September 2019 we will be based at Blaise Primary School.

It is important to identify the route that best suits your needs.

Why not sign up for our next Open event where you can come to meet us informally and find out about programmes for 2020-2021?

Our open events are listed below: please register for a place if you wish to come along and see us.

Our open events take place at Whitehall Primary School, Johnsons Lane, BS5 9AZ: register your place here:

What is the School Direct: (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) PGCE route?

School Direct PGCE route offers a mix of a traditional PGCE with school based learning across the Alliance partner schools. This route enables you to draw on the expertise of your home and placement schools; the Alliance mentor; Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) and the HEI over a year of training. Together this group organise and manage your programme. This is not a salaried route and so normal tuition fees apply.

Currently the Alliance partners with the University of the West of England for the PGCE route and some of your time is spent there.

This programme has an academic element, with regular assignments across the year. You will have a school based mentor; link tutor (from the HEI) and regular training with the Alliance training manager and Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) from across the city.

What is School Direct: salaried?

School Direct (salaried) is an employment based route into teaching. This route is particularly suitable for people who have a degree and have had a successful career in other fields and who now want to teach after gaining some experience of a school environment. It is also suitable for people who have a degree and have worked in schools for a period of time as teaching assistants or in similar roles who now wish to train as a qualified teacher.

Places for the salaried route are extremely competitive. This route is designed predominantly for those already with significant experience of working in primary schools, in roles such as a teaching assistant, higher level teaching assistant or as a cover teacher.  Those applying for this route are usually sponsored and employed by the school they are working in, as they may intend to step up their role and continue working there following training.  The school takes them on as an unqualified teacher and pays their salary for the year, with some financial assistance from the teaching school.  Please note, there are only very limited places for applicants who are not already employed in a school and where the school has agreed to pay for your training year.

A School Direct Salaried trainee works in a school full-time and is paid for the year of the training. The Alliance provides regular additional training days away from the classroom on a weekly basis with opportunities to explore key aspects of teaching and learning and theory and subject knowledge with other trainees and led by an Alliance Initial Teacher Education mentor and Specialist Leaders of Education  – outstanding teachers and school leaders from school across the city. This also provides opportunities to reflect, discuss and share issues arising in the classroom and so enable the trainee to consider their progress against the Standards for Teachers. The programme is validated by the Higher Education Institute (HEI).  You will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) on successful completion of the programme.

You will be given two school ‘placements’ in two Key Stages and in both your lead school and for a term in a contrasting school.  You will have a school based mentor and regular visits from the Alliance training manager to give you the best possible start to your career.

Before you can take up a place on a School Direct route (or any route into teaching) you are required to have a second or first class degree, passed GCSEs (or equivalent) in English, maths and science at grade C or above and have passed the QTS skills tests in English and maths.

Details of the test and how you register to take them, can be found here

The Alliance offers a supportive, friendly and intensive salaried route where you are made to feel part of the school team whilst you are training.

How to apply

The application process is through UCAS for both the salaried and PGCE routes:

Click here to find the pages on the UCAS site

All courses will be available to view on the UCAS site from  September and the applications open in October in readiness for intake in the following September.  If you are keen to train as a teacher with us, please apply early, as the places fill up very quickly!  We close our application rounds when our places are filled.

If you wish to apply for a School Direct place with the Alliance (Salaried or PGCE route) then you need to apply for the Bristol Primary Teaching School Alliance (Ashley Down Primary / Whitehall Primary) via UCAS. Our provider code is 1PL.

Interviews take place in December and early into the new year in readiness for the following September intake. When our places fill up, then we close our window for application for that year, so you are recommended to apply early – windows for UCAS applications open at the end of October.

Get into Teaching for all the information you need click here.

Queries and questions can be emailed to (Our alliance initial teacher training manager).

Why not come along to one of our open events to find out more about how to train to teach with us?

Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.